FAA Issues Requirement for All UAS to Show Aircraft Registration Number


The FAA UAS Integration Office issued an email to the industry outlining the requirement for all commercial UAS to bear an aircraft registration number when applying for a COA:

UAS, other than those owned by the Armed Forces, intended to operate under a new COA must be registered and marked prior to COA application.  The aircraft registration number (N-number) must be entered into the “Aircraft Registration” field, of the System Description section in COA on-line. 

Additionally, UAS, other than those owned by the Armed Forces, currently operating under an existing COA must be registered and marked within 90 days of the date of this email. COA holders will confirm their aircraft have been registered by entering the registration number, (N-number) in the Monthly Operational Report, in the block labeled, “Describe any other Operational / Coordination Issued”.  Failure to comply with the registration requirements within the prescribed timeframe may result in a suspension of the COA.

UAS must be marked with their U.S. nationality and registration marks (N-Number) in accordance with 14 CFR Part 45.  The marks must be painted on the aircraft or affixed by any other means ensuring a similar degree of permanence (§45.21(c) (1), General).

Most full scale UAS are able to comply with the marking requirements, including size and location of the N-Number on the aircraft.  Sub-scale or small UAS, or UAS of an un-conventional shape such as a multi-rotor (quad-copter, octo-copter, etc.) or ducted fan may not be able to comply with Part 45 or the guidance in AC 45-2D because of size or space limitations on the aircraft.  In these cases, 14 CFR, §45.22(d) allows the UAS owner or operator to propose an alternative marking procedure to the FAA. Alternate marking approvals may be issued to public aircraft by FAA UAS Integration Office (AFS-80). If alternative markings were required, a copy of the Alternative Marking approval letter should be attached to application in the “Aircraft Registration” field. 

Complete details for registering your UAS and reserving an N-number are provided online at www.faa.gov.

 A formal letter from the FAA UAS Integration further outlining this requirement will follow this email correspondence.

Source: FAA


  1. Lots of luck finding HOW to acquire an “N” number on their site if you want to register and operate an sUAS! I just tried and it’s like navigating the IRS tax code, only it ludicrously asserts that Queen FAA’s dictatorial domain is every cubic inch of breathable air in these free United States. Absurd. The FAA no longer serves the people, it serves itself with no reason to make change [for integration] in any sort of reasonable time frame. Classic bureaucracy at its worst.

    1. Craiog, you have no idea what you’re talking about. First, the FAA hasn’t even issued its sUAS registration regulations yet. Since you just tried to register an sUAS using the current aircraft registration scheme, and since you find the statute — 49 U.S.C. §40103(a)(1) — that the federal government has sovereignty over all U.S. airspace “absurd,” you obviously have zero experience with aviation and airspace use. I’m a drone owner and a longtime aircraft owner and pilot, and you are a classic example of what the FAA administrator recently said: The vast majority of these operators do not have … basic aviation training or experience …. They have no knowledge that they may be flying in controlled airspace. Some may have no recognition that their actions could have serious consequences. They are simply having fun with a toy.” The United States has the most user-friendly airspace of any nation on earth and the FAA fully intends to keep it that way, including opening airspace for drone operations. But they are for da-n sure going to make sure it’s done SAFELY. So stop with the FAA-bashing idiocy. The FAA is the best friend pilots of both full-size aircraft and drones have; just wait and see how other countries bureaucratically restrict drones and watch how we will maximize our airspace for drones. Happy flying.

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